Music sector grows in bounds

HARARE - As we celebrate the New Year in form of 2017, it is important to look back to what characterised last year.

The year 2016 saw many artistes releasing new albums and these include sungura giant Alick Macheso, Leonard Zhakata, Jah Prayzah,

Suluman Chimbetu, Winky D, Killer T, Freeman and Oliver Mtukudzi among others.

Of interest, a number of artistes launched their albums at the giant Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) as compared to previous years and these include Jah Prayzah who released Mdhara Vachauya, Macheso — Tsoka Dzerwendo (Ayaya) and Zhakata — Mutunga Dzese.

The year 2016 saw Zhakata releasing his first collaboration studio album since he launched his flourishing music career in the late 1980s.

The Mubikira hit maker roped in the services of dendera artiste Suluman Chimbetu and Progress Chipfumo on the track Madam Boss off the latest album Mutunga Dzese.

It had been four years of dry season for Macheso but fortunately his promises finally materialised in March as he launched the studio project Tsoka Dzerwendo (Ayaya) at the Harare International Conference Centre.

The project was well received on the market with tracks such as Gungwa, Mude Mude and Baba dominating airwaves.

The year 2016 saw superstar Mtukudzi collaborating with his wife Daisy for the first time in his career spanning over 40 years singing together on a studio album Eheka! Nhai Yahwe.

The year also saw Mtukudzi collaborating with Zimdancehall artiste Winky D on the latter’s track Panorwadza Moyo and the two went on to perform the song at the Morgan Heritage concert held at the HICC.

It was a great year for Jah Prayzah who despite launching the hit album Mdhara Vachauya managed to penetrate the regional market, thanks to his collaboration with Tanzanian star Diamond Platnumz.

The duet Watora Mari generated more than three million hits on social media platform, YouTube.

Jah Prayzah went on to win a continental gong in the form of Mama Award and that was the same year he collaborated with multi-award winning South African house music group Mafikizolo.

The same year saw Jah Prayzah losing one of his popular dancers Pamela “Gonyeti” Zulu who went on to form her own musical outfit called Horse Power.

Gonyeti alleges sexual abuse on part of the Jerusarema singer as some of the reasons that led her to leave the Third Generation band.

2016 also saw the return of African Roots music singer and world-renowned stone sculptor Bryn Mteki aka Sekurutau to the stage and every Friday he is holding a music gig at Harare’s historic nightclub, Club Saratoga in Highfield, Harare.

After touring the world for 16 years with success stories in America, Germany and the rest of Europe, Sekurutau is permanently back home where he has acquired and re-christened the mighty Club Saratoga “The Haus Of Sekurutau”.

The Haus Of Sekurutau, the double storey nightclub is historic in that it was the venue for most black bands during the colonial era, uplifting and providing space for music giants like Thomas Mapfumo, The Four Brothers and Bhundu Boys among other yesteryear high profile music acts.

The year was a terrible one for Soul Jah Love who battled leg ulcer that was exacerbated by his diabetic condition.

The illness saw the chanter performing while in a wheelchair at one of the high profile concerts held in the capital.

He went on to seek spiritual deliverance at one of the mega churches in the country, Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries led by Walter Magaya.

The Ndini Uya Uya singer had parted ways with girlfriend Bounty Lisa in June and their divorce sucked in Bounty’s mother who was angry with her son-in-law.

Award-winning arts organisation Divine Assignment played a pivotal role in identifying and promoting marginalised bands through the weekly programme Jam Session hosted by City Sports Bar.

Forgotten musicians such as the visually impaired Daniel Gonora who was part of the Jairos Jiri Band, Paradzai Mesi of Njerama Boys, Taso, Patrick Mkwamba and South Africa-based Mitchel Jambo among others all shared the stage at Jam Jession.

Local music promotion organisation 2Kings Entertainment solidified its position in 2016 with high profile gigs featuring international artistes in the form of Morgan Heritage, Mafikizolo, Chris Martin, Jah Cure and Diamond Platnumz among others.

The organisation — 2 Kings Entertainment — was also behind big events for only local artistes such as the recently held Fill Up HICC concert and the Odyssey Hotel concert held in Kadoma last night.

The year under retrospect saw the entrance of new artistes such as Sam Dondo, Andy Muridzo and Mbeu among others making great inroads in the entertainment dome.

Dondo launched his musical career in style, being supported by Mtukudzi, Winky D, Chimbetu and Jah Prayzah among others at Alex Sports Club in Harare in July.

Mbira musicians Hope Masike and Pah Chihera were nominated in the continental gongs (Kora Awards) scheduled to take place in Namibia’s Windhoek in March but unfortunately the awards were postponed to a later date.

Masike had been nominated for Best Traditional Female with single Huya Tinamate while Pah Chihera got the nod under the Best Female Southern Africa category.

The Kora are the most prestigious and lucrative music awards in Africa that recognises musical and artistic excellence in Africa.

The prize money ranges from $50 000 to $1 million for the winners.

Lady Squanda hogged limelight for wrong reasons when she bullied a fellow artiste Abra Skimbo to the extent of forcing him to lick her foot. The development led her to be removed from a pending United Kingdom tour.

Stunner had his fair share of controversy after he drove a car without a driver’s licence and got involved in an accident.

He plunged into four cars that were in stationary in Harare, a development that saw him sentenced to community service in Greendale.

The year under retrospect also saw the music industry losing a number of artistes including gospel diva Joyce Simeti who was buried in Mtoko and one of Leonard Zhakata’s dancers Norman Kembo who was buried at the Granville cemetery in Harare.

Music promoters celebrated their birthdays in style with different artistes sharing the stage and these include Cossy Rules’ bash held in Kadoma where Zhakata, Chimbetu, Peter Moyo, First Farai and Freeman among others sharing the stage at Odyssey Hotel in November.

Patson “Chipaz” Chimbodza celebrated his own birthday in Harare at Andy Miller Hall and the gig attracted a handful fans.

Entertainment-loving people were treated with a braai festival courtesy of Delta Beverages.

The braai festival saw people consuming over 12 tonnes of meat in a single day.

Local music awards held last year left a lot to be desired and these include Zimbabwe Music awards that was poorly organised and it took ages for them to hand artistes their gongs.

Fungisayi Zvakavapano caused stir at Zimdancehall awards after she arrived at the venue’s red carpet while accompanied by riders on eye-catching motorbikes.

Selmor Mtukudzi won the prestigious continental awards — African Entertainment Awards US — held in the United States while Togarepi Chivaviro won several continental awards in South Africa including Best Collaboration award — at Trumpet Africa Music Gospel Awards in South Africa thanks to hit song Ebenezer.

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